We handle our liquid honey gently to retain as many of the natural qualities as possible from how the bees have made and stored it.
After we harvest the frames from the bee hives, we freeze them for 72 hours at temperatures just above 0 degrees F. This kills pathogens, eggs, spores or any other creepy-crawly that might be in the combs. The bees are quite fastidious, and honey has some natural anti-microbial properties, but why take chances with food safety?
Immediately after the honey has thawed, we extract it from the comb. We begin by visually inspecting every frame to ensure that we are only giving you honey … no brood, no “bee bread” capsules, just honey. Any cells that don’t look right we remove before extracting. We then remove the wax cappings that the bees placed on top of the honey to keep it fresh. Once uncapped, we place the frames into an extracting machine and spin them at very high speed for a few minutes. This will pull the honey out of the comb cells using centrifugal force. Honey is too viscous to remove using gravity alone. By spinning the frames, we minimize the damage to the comb, and we can return it to the bees to reuse as soon as possible.
The extracted honey is passed through two sieves, a 1,250 micron sieve and a 650 micron sieve, to remove any particles of debris or wax cappings. We do not heat the honey or filter it through finer mesh filters, as is done with commercial “store bought” honey. Such filtering removes pollen and other nutritious components of the honey, and heating causes damage to the amino acids and enzymes and other good things.
Finally, we pour your honey into jars and label them. We may warm the honey, very slightly, to no more than 105 degrees F, if it is necessary to reduce the bubbles or foam in the honey. We do this on a “batch-by-batch” basis … usually we just pour it directly into the jars that we present to you.